The Active Ingredient of Inequality

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Online public event


Professor Francisco Ferreira

Professor Francisco Ferreira


Baroness Shafik

Baroness Shafik

Around the world, people’s life chances are powerfully shaped by their race, gender, place of birth and family background. Two individuals born in the same city and on the same day may turn out to have very different schooling opportunities, to meet with different treatment by the police and other state institutions, and to face different job market conditions, depending on the neighbourhoods and families they were born into.

In this lecture, Professor Ferreira will discuss how (some) economists have come to define, model and measure inequality of opportunity, and why it can be seen as the active ingredient of inequality – both in terms of injustice and inefficiency. He will discuss the close relationship between this type of inequality and intergenerational mobility, and review both the progress made and the challenges remaining in attempting to quantify and compare inequality of opportunity across countries and over time.

Francisco H. G. Ferreira (@fhgferreira) is the Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director (designate) of the International Inequalities Institute at LSE. He is also affiliated with the Department of Social Policy. Francisco, also known as Chico, is an economist working on the measurement, causes and consequences of inequality and poverty, with an emphasis on developing countries in general and Latin America in particular. Some of his recent work has focused on the definition and measurement of inequality of opportunity.

His work has been published widely, including in the Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Review of Income and Wealth, Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Economic Inequality, the World Bank Economic Review and World Development. His research has been awarded prizes including the Richard Stone Prize in Applied Econometrics and the Kendrick Prize from the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth Francisco is also a Research Fellow at IZA (Bonn) and an Affiliated Scholar with the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality at the City University of New York. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association and has served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Economic Inequality (2012-2014), and on other editorial boards. Prior to returning to LSE, he had a long career at the World Bank, mostly in the Research Department. Chico has also previously taught at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and at the Paris School of Economics. He was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Minouche Shafik is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to this she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSECOVID19

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from The Active Ingredient of Inequality.

A video of this event is available to watch at The Active Ingredient of Inequality.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event will be streamed live on Facebook


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